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IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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BitSummit initiative to help connect Japanese indies to the world

February 19, 2013 3:00 AM | John Polson

bitsummit.jpgBitSummit will hold its first day-long summit in Kyoto, Japan March 9, 2013, aiming to connect international media and digital publishing platforms (such as Steam) with the thriving indie development scene in Japan. Interpreters will be provided for the event. The event is free, but attendees must RSVP in advance.

James Mielke heads the initiative, bringing his experience as former editor-in-chief at Electronic Gaming Monthly and 1UP.com, development experience for Q Entertainment, and current production experience for PixelJunk developer Q-Games.

Riot simulator hopes to engage and educate, its pixels already stun

February 18, 2013 1:10 PM | John Polson

A small team of Italian developers are working on a riot simulator (RIOT) based on worldwide events. Leonard Menchiari heads the Indiegogo project that will target iOS and Android devices first, with eventually PC and Mac ports following.

"The main purpose of this project is to create a game that will get people to be interactive with two opposing forces during clashes between rioters and police while showing the moral aspects and viewpoints of both sides," the campaign states.

Kickstarter Projects: Delver's Drop (Pixelscopic)

February 15, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Developer Pixelscopic has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Delver's Drop, an overhead-view action-RPG in development for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android platforms.

Delver's Drop promises immense depth, thanks to its many randomized elements and multiple puzzle permutations. Players can choose from among five playable classes -- some of which will be decided by Kickstarter backers -- and the physics-based combat looks mighty intriguing in the preliminary footage seen above.

Delver's Drop has earned over $28,000 in pledges as of this writing, and is well on its way to meeting its goal of $75,000 by March 12th. A digital copy of Delver's Drop for Windows, Mac, or Linux can be preordered with a $15 pledge, while $25 gets you access to a closed beta in August.

Shade, and the future of interactive fiction on the App Store

February 13, 2013 2:15 PM | Staff

plotkinsmall.jpgAndrew "Zarf" Plotkin's acclaimed Shade is an interactive fiction game that sticks with you like a distant fever dream, or a particularly poignant nightmare. The way it subverted the confines of traditional setting within interactive fiction through matter-of-fact surrealism made it revolutionary when it launched over 10 years ago. It has no "solution" in the sense one expects.

Just last week, a port of Shade arrived on the iOS App Store; Plotkin calls it his first "real attempt to show IF to a mass-paying audience." Who knows what the masses will make of it?

"I picked Shade because it's the one people talk about most," he tells me simply. He's already released The Dreamhold, intended to act as an IF tutorial, on the App Store for free.

While he's investing most of his efforts on Kickstarter-funded Hadean Lands, a full-scale interactive fiction effort slated for iOS, proffering something much smaller and more brief, like Shade (priced at $.99), is a way of further testing the waters of paid IF content and offering potential readership an entry point. The more recent Hoist Sail For The Heliopause and Home is set to follow, currently in Apple's queue for publishing consideration.

Q&A: Bit.Trip Business: Indie studio life in 2013

February 13, 2013 8:00 AM | Staff

runner2 small.pngGaijin Games built its name on the Bit.Trip franchise -- a collection of six games for WiiWare, a platform that went largely ignored by the indie community after its launch. Now, the developer -- which has offices in San Francisco and which has grown to eight full-time staff in-house -- is soon to launch Bit.Trip Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC.

Gamasutra recently sat down with co-founders Alex Neuse and Mike Roush to find out more about the growing studio and what it means to be an indie console developer in these tumultuous times of platform shifts and market changes.

Do you do all of your development in-house? Do you use contractors? Do you farm anything out?

Roush: Everyone is Gaijin Games. We farm very little out. We do do some contracting. But they're contracting with people that are exclusive to the company. For example, our animator, she has a family, so she does part-time. Everyone else is all Gaijin games members.

Neuse: Except for the composer. He's a full-on contractor. Yeah, all of the full-time development staff is Gaijin.

Why do you do it that way?

Roush: Instead of shipping it offshore?

iOS Game Pick: Active Soccer (Fox Software)

February 12, 2013 6:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome

ActiveSoccer.pngFootball (okay, soccer to some) is above all a game of pace. An elegant and at times brutal game of pace and it seems to me that, Sensible Soccer and its '90s sequels aside, no video game has really managed to capture said pace. Interestingly Active Soccer comes really close. Really, really close. It is thus easily the best sports related game I have played on my iPad and, I believe, the football game I've enjoyed the most this past decade; and all that despite having to use a perfectly designed albeit virtual d-pad. Can't really imagine how well the thing plays on that iCade. Or how cool a PC port would be...

Obviously not everything is perfect with Active Soccer; the menus could be better, the graphics could be more polished and the players could sport their real names. Then again, this is not FIFA. This a game that is actually good and should only focus on further evolving and refining its core mechanics. Everything else is window-dressing.

iOS Pick: Finding Teddy (Storybird)

February 11, 2013 3:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Storybird and indie publisher LookAtMyGame have collaborated to release Finding Teddy, a visually striking point-and-click adventure title for iOS devices.

The story finds a little girl searching for her missing teddy bear in a magical realm, where she's accompanied by a pair of helper characters with their own unique abilities. The game has no dialogue, and gameplay emphasizes environmental interaction and drag-and-drop item puzzles. The backdrops are often gorgeous, and the character animation is also quite nice!

Finding Teddy is regularly priced at $3.99, but is available this week for $1.99.

[Thanks, Anton R.!]

iOS/Mac Pick: Traxion (Games Foundation)

February 10, 2013 8:00 AM | Danny Cowan

Games Foundation tackles a rarely explored subgenre in Traxion, a physics-based, arcade-style shooter for Mac and iOS devices.

Gameplay in Traxion is inspired by semi-obscure console games like Solar Jetman and Subterrania. Players navigate tricky level layouts using an unconventional thrust mechanic (similar to the arcade classic Asteroids), and items collected will weigh down your ship until you drag them to safety. The gameplay is solid, but hopefully, Traxion hasn't inherited its inspiration's difficulty -- Solar Jetman was quite punishing!

Traxion is priced at $1.99. Versions for Windows and Android are also in the works.

Android Game Pick: Asterism (Heroes by Design)

February 8, 2013 9:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Heroes by Design makes its Android debut this week with the release of Asterism, a free-to-play physics puzzler that includes 60 levels.

Asterism challenges players to eliminate star clusters in each level by aiming and rebounding a limited number of shots fired from the bottom of the screen. It's a simple but neat concept -- it sort of reminds me of the early iOS hit Orbital, mixed with a dash of Puzzle Bobble. Try it out!

iOS/Android Game Pick: Ball of Woe (Doppler Interactive)

February 8, 2013 6:00 PM | Danny Cowan

Sydney-based indie duo Doppler Interactive has released its vibrant ball-rolling action game Ball of Woe as a free download in the iOS App Store and for Android devices via Google Play.

Doppler's Jessica Ellis describes Ball of Woe as "a story-driven game serving subtle, dark themes in the cutest and most colourful manner possible, all wrapped up in a jacket of physics-based gameplay." Sounds good to me! The environments in this game are very colorful, and I enjoy the art style. The gameplay will be familiar territory if you've played Marble Blast or the Kororinpa games, but the storyline -- in which players roll a ball made up of pure, accumulated misery -- is original and worthwhile.

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